Following ongoing positive results, Sunshine Coast Council will continue its program to protect native wildlife by preventing and controlling declared feral animals in the region.
The feral animal prevention and control program targets specific declared species throughout the Sunshine Coast Council area – wild dogs; feral goats, cats and deer; European foxes and rabbits; and Indian Myna birds.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said the program would minimise the impact feral animals had on our environment.
“It’s vital we monitor the extent and magnitude of certain feral animals in the region to understand where they are and implement activities to minimise any damage,” Cr Suarez said.
“A perfect example of this is identifying rabbit invasions over the past 12 months.
“Rabbits are not yet established in our region and it’s vitally important we keep it that way.
“If rabbits were to become established, their impact on agriculture and the environment would be significant as they compete with native wildlife, they can contribute to the extinction or decline in numbers of many native animals and plants and damage vegetation and degrade the land.
“The prevention and control program has allowed council to work closely with landholders to try to eradicate them before a population is established.
“This partnership with our community is vital to our success.
“Continuing this important program will allow us to build on that success and the work undertaken over the past four years.”
Sunshine Coast Council receives almost 700 requests for assistance with feral animal control each year.
Feral animals damage agricultural and horticultural crops, irrigation and fences, compete with livestock for pasture and supplementary feed, attack livestock, domestic pets and native animals, damage trees and native regeneration, disperse weed seeds and cause erosion.
They also pose a risk to livestock industries and human health by spreading disease.
Council’s Team Leader Animal Education and Control Anthony Cathcart said the data and research collected through the program allowed council to make decisions based on real results and monitored outcomes.
“We are able to identify the presence or absence of feral animals, educate and assist residents to minimise the impacts on their property, pets, livestock and agricultural crops and implement control programs to reduce the presence and destructive impact of these pest animals in our region,” Mr Cathcart said.
“Many of these programs are not possible without the strong partnerships and support from our community.”
Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, landholders have a General Biosecurity Obligation to manage declared pest plants and animals on land under their control.
The 12-month program will start on 6 September 2021. For information about invasive animals visit https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Environment/Invasive-plants-and-animals/Invasive-animals